Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Weight Loss Guarantee...

So many people that have seen my posts about my weight loss have asked what I'm doing! So I will share! There is this AMAZING program and it is helping me shed weight, have more energy and even decrease my brain fog!

Let me back up just a bit and remind you of my days weighing 245 pounds, where you would hardly even recognize me. After losing two children, emotional eating was my thing! If you want to read more about that...here is the link (https://heatherearljoyinthejourney.blogspot.com/2012/03/im-starting-on-monday.html) You can even see what I looked like at that weight! But just a warning....Don't fall out of your chair!

So needless to say, I know how to lose weight because I have lost 100 pounds before and then gained some back and lost that, gained some back and lost that, gained back and lost that well you see the pattern. I have literally been a roller coaster throughout the years! Every time fall would hit and the anniversaries of losing both my kids the emotional eating would start right back! But the cool thing is that I know how many amazing products are out there. And I know what the perfect mixture for success is after gaining and losing so many times! I understand! But no more excuses! I want to be able to add that not only do I know how to lose weight, but that I also know how to keep it off!

I have used Advocare, Shakeology, Herbalife, Isagenix, Le-Vel, Melaleuca, Plexus, Shaklee, and even watched my mom have success with MediFast.

GUESS WHAT????? THEY ARE ALL GOOD PRODUCTS! THEY ALL GIVE YOUR BODY GREAT STUFF! (I have friends that sell just about all of the above, so if you are interested in any of them I can send you their way)

So here is the BIG SECRET of my weight loss....there is no secret! The best program is healthy eating and exercise and when it's combined is the key! It's always the key! Even with injuries and lots of them...it can work! I'm living proof! I have a bad back, terrible pain in my shoulder, a bad knee and foot pain! I even have pain in my arm by my elbow, (Have no idea what that is) But anyway, I know from experience that when the weight goes away the pain can diminish!

I believe in any of the above companies and believe that you can include any of them for your journey. I personally love the shake plans because I am bad about getting all the greens, and fruits and vitamins that my body needs. Back when I lost 100 pounds, I actually drank Slim Fast shakes. So I do a shake most mornings unless I want a healthy egg white omelette with veggies. Then I have a healthy snack, like sliced tomatoes, avocados or a boiled egg. Then I have another shake for lunch unless I want a salad. Then again I have a healthy snack, maybe almonds and a cheese stick. Then I have dinner, usually grilled chicken or fish and a green veggie like fresh green beans, snow peas or asparagus.

Then I add at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. That's my plan and it works! Oh and lets talk exercise. I am all about simplicity and I also know how to control my mind to help my body do what I want it to do even when my brain wants to quit!

I play mind games with myself because I understand that its our brains that tell us that we cant keep going or that we are too tired. So I don't listen to myself! Here is what I do.... I am music motivated. So I get on the treadmill or elliptical and I listen to a song that pumps me up and I walk or jog to the beat. The different songs give me the slow/fast pace to increase fat burning. Then when I am wanting to stop cause I think I am too tired... The ending of a song has to fall when the treadmill time is ending in zero... So if those don't fall at the same time I have to go for another song! If after I have met my goal I just stop and get off and if it happens to fall just right... I get off and do another machine the same way! Its funny when you change the focus...you end up doing more! It's the same mentality when a road trip seems faster when you are talking to someone. Before you know it...you are there! So learn to trick your mind from thinking about the obvious! I am so good at this because its the main way I have learned to get through trials. Eventually, they end.

I know it is hard and I know its so individual. I know there are exceptions to everything and I know it doesn't work for everyone because of medical issues. But what I do know is that you are better when you are fit and healthy. Your mind, your thought process, your energy, your sleep!

I also know that the enemy, adversary, devil whatever you want to call him...likes us better when we aren't physically at our best! So it can hold us back in our lives. I have witnessed this first hand at times in my life! I am walking this path right now and already feeling amazing!

So start today! Do something to get back on track with your health and your fitness. Your best self is waiting! I know the MAJOR differences in me when I am exercising and healthy eating!


Wanna JOIN ME???? I can be your accountability partner!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Biggest Lie...

This month our family chose to participate in a beautiful world-wide campaign called #lighttheworld. It is a calendar of opportunities to shine in an increasingly dark world. A chance to be a bright light to those around us and a shining example of Christlike love.

I decided that I would start a FB event to share this campaign with many friends that may have never heard of it. It received a great response and I have been uplifted and inspired by the posts that have been written there and also shared through the hashtag #lighttheworld. 25 ways to give for 25 days. Beautiful. Each day it provides a guide to focus on and actual ideas to follow the theme of the day through random acts of kindness.   

I received a message from someone in the group that said, "I could never write what I do with a hastag because I am afraid that people will think that I am tooting my own horn or that I am wanting to receive accolades." I have sat and pondered this for several days. As this is not the first time I have heard this. And actually at some point several years ago, I believed this.

Here are my thoughts in response... This is the biggest lie! What if every author of every incredible book that you have read chose not to write because someone might have thought they were tooting their own horn. What if an inspired speaker chose to keep their mouths shut and not share the beautiful life lessons that they have experienced, in fear that someone would think that they are only sharing for accolades. Think about the last inspiring movie you watched that changed your life and inspired you. 

I remember someone saying to me at one point in my life that I share too much. And you know what.. Back then I believed them. I became quiet. I stopped sharing. It was the most miserable time in my life. You see, I have learned through the years that my calling in life was to open my mouth and share my experiences. I always knew that I shared from my heart. I always knew that I shared because I truly had a testimony of what I was sharing. I shared because I was so excited to discover something that helped me grow or become better or stronger and I wanted someone else to have the same benefit. 

Some of the most beautiful experiences in my life have come from feeling inspired to share something and someone reaching out to me thanking me for saying something they needed to hear, or giving them an idea that brought them or their family joy. 

Through the years, I have heard that I share too much. I have heard that I am too open. I have heard that anyone that shares everything on FB is someone seeking attention. I have recently heard that quiet service is true Christianity. 

I have prayed about these very opinions and realized that that is exactly what they are... OPINIONS!

C.S. Lewis said it best...."Don't shine so that others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him."

We live in a world of blogs, and vlogs and YouTube and more blogs. People are moved by other peoples stories. That includes all parts of your story, even the random acts of kindness that you do for others. My favorite movies are the ones based on a true story. Your story is a true story and there are people that need your voice. 

In a world of stigma, shame, victim-blaming, and apathy, it can be terrifying to share your story or the things that you do for good. And it can be hard to always know who you can trust. 

But sharing these things can bless a life and heal a heart, and can help others along their journey. Choosing to share can give strength, give hope, or just remind someone that they are not alone. It can inspire a soul to do what you did and make it their own. Sharing about your random acts of kindness can inspire someone to go and do the same.

I remember sharing about what our family did for the homeless regularly. I had several people say they were so thankful we shared because they had always wanted to do something like that and we helped them realize that it doesn't take much to go bless a life. I shared about my random acts of kindness birthday last year and several others created similar birthday events to go bless others. That is the beauty of sharing.

Now there are hundreds of things that we do on a regular basis that we never share about. But when you feel inspired to share, you should share. 

I plead with you to not fall into the worry of what others may think of you! SHARE YOUR HEART, SHARE WHAT YOU DO, SHARE YOUR STORY! There are people waiting to be touched by what only you can share! Be a light! Shine your heart and light the world. 

Find joy in sharing your heart with others. As you share you will help others find Him.

Until I blog again...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It was a miracle after all....

Sometimes you get a crazy idea that comes to you in a dream. You first think it's a nightmare! Then after some thought, the idea won't leave your heart. So you start paying attention to it and all the ramifications of it. You realize that you have been being prepared for it for quite some time. So you take it to heart and realize that indeed it is what was supposed to happen. Different fears start circulating and you process through it all. And of course, you pray!

Then you embrace it... with a little bit of sadness because it means changing everything you know. Selling your dream home and 80% of what you own. Little by little the reality sets in. Baby steps to the realization of what was really happening in my life. It seemed so subtle at first. I was craving simplicity. I was craving organization (which never came easily for me), I was craving order.

Then you realize that hiring a home organizer, getting rid of excess, donating and selling most of what you have was all part of the plan! It was all inspired. It was preparing me to be able to add upon my life. You see, I have dreams, big, big dreams! I have beautiful desires in my heart that I feel God has called me to do. I believe I have a calling and purpose in life and I needed to discover true order in my life before I was ready for this new path that God has led me down. I used to not have enough self-belief to think that they could ever happen. At one point in my life that is all that it was...a dream. But through my life, I have learned that dreams really do come true. But you have to work. You have to be willing to change. You have to listen to your heart and do hard things. For me, it meant deciding to give up the comfort and peace of our home. It meant getting rid of things I loved. It meant sacrificing comfort to explore uncomfortable feelings and face weaknesses.

Looking back....I learned at a young age that I could do hard things and have spent the last 20 years learning how to overcome trials and tribulations. I had a huge weakness of self-starting. I still struggle at times. (I now know what to do in those moments) I have A.D.D. with the side effect of lack of organization. I would have the greatest intentions with real desire and fall short because of my weaknesses. Either I would forget or not make something happen because I couldn't start or keep routine. I didn't have order in my mind so I never could figure out how to recover. I was determined to overcome this weakness.

I read books. I prayed. I took classes. I prayed. I read more books. I prayed. I entertained the idea of medicine for focus. (I decided against it) I prayed. I prayed some more. Then I realized that I was spending too much time focusing on my weaknesses and that I had forgotten to focus on my strengths. I was always searching how to overcome certain tendencies of mine. So I began doing what I could and focused on what I am good at. And that is listening to my heart and following the spirit.

I listened to my heart and hired that home organizer. I learned from her. I flew in a dear friend to organize my Scentsy and home office. I learned from her. I accepted that I may always have certain weaknesses but,  I can find beautiful people in my life help make up for what I didn't possess myself. I learned all of this but was still stuck in the ease of having the hired help.

I had this beautiful home that was always clean (well not always clean)  and of course smelling good but I couldn't maintain it myself. It was so overwhelming to me. I had to pay someone to maintain it for me. I'll never forget the feeling I had one day. My housekeepers were there (3 of them) and also the guy showed up to scoop the poop from the backyard at the same time. As I sat on the couch reading a book. I thought... Why am I sitting here watching others do things I am completely capable of doing myself. I realized that very subtlety I had become pulled into the ease of someone else doing these things and it was not helping me become the woman that I was meant to be. Of course it allowed me to go and serve and do random acts of kindness for others and to play with my kiddos. But, I realized that I was not progressing in this area of my life and I was getting very comfortable with hiring help. I realized at that moment that I needed to make a change. It was a stumbling block to my personal progression.

This is when I began praying for what my next best step was. I never intended for the answer to come in a dream. And surely never expected that we were to sell our home (which has not actually sold yet) and didn't expect to move to a completely new place (where I didn't know a soul) and into an apartment at that. Lubbock of all places, was the answer for this next phase of life. I immediately understood it all. Each baby step and phase that was preparing me for this big life change. I actually remember going to church that following Sunday and singing the song, "Ill go where you want me to go dear Lord." I knew from the spirit on several different occasions that it was for sure where we were supposed to go. So I continued to downsize even more and prepare for the big move. Two months have come and gone and I couldn't be happier! (except for missing sweet friends)

It has been the best thing that could have ever happened. I have changed for the better! Simplifying my life was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I didn't even need to hire an organizer to get my space all set up. Leaving that 4000 square foot home and downsizing to a 1100 sq ft apartment was a big part of the answer for me. I am happier and it is greater blessing than I ever realized. Kolby is thriving here. We are becoming even closer, now that he is not on one end of the house and me on another. We talk more and hang more. I love it! I cherish the lessons that I had through this experience of being willing to up and change everything. It is awesome to be cleaning my own home again, and not having more than I need. Everything has its place and I have finally achieved order and organization on my own. I have a clear mind because I'm not worrying about all that needs to be done and I am not feeling guilty for literally spending thousands to other people to do things for me that I was perfectly capable of doing myself. I have more time...so much more time! Not to mention more time to travel and be what I am meant to be.

But here is the miracle... I have finally simplified my life and found order in my home.  God has blessed me in my efforts. God has opened doors for me to follow my heart desires and dreams. He has placed people in my path that have blessed me in my efforts in pursuing these big dreams that I have been carrying around in my heart for many years. By simplifying, I am able to be more present in the moment, attentive to my kids and able to devote my full attention to whatever task is going on at the time. I know I already mentioned this...but the added time is incredible. By having a simplified schedule I choose what fills my time...not life dictating what I have to do. Which will soon be filled with days of being a "grammy" to my first grand baby. I can't even say that without getting chills and watery eyes.

There are many beautiful benefits of simplifying your life. I am seeing that there are tons of small, seemingly insignificant benefits that contribute to my daily joy and sense of well-being and balance. It's an ongoing task that will always require reminders and resets...But that's exciting to me because I continue to see how much I have grown. The inner peace is the greatest gift of all.
I am not suggesting you have to move to find this beautiful place but begin the simplfying journey...its life changing!

Here's to continuing to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.... LESS IS MORE!


Until I blog again,


Monday, August 22, 2016

The ALL Encompassing Journey...

As my fingers hit the keys tonight my mind is flooded with so many thoughts. I have so much to share and I hardly know where to start. In a previous blog I shared about moving to Lubbock and a little about how that choice came about. Here is the link to the blog that prefaces this one.  http://heatherearljoyinthejourney.blogspot.com/2016/05/so-longfarewell.html?m=1

I decided to share a little more in depth about our journey. Let's see... So just to touch on a few rumors that I have heard...No, Shay and I are not separated... (hahaha) No, we didn't move because business was bad. No, I didn't move because I can't live without Hayley. No, I am not putting my kids before my husband. We moved because God spoke and we listened. 

This life is for growth and learning to become the best that we were created to be. I have learned that, this kind of growth requires change. In several seasons of my life I have heard the spirit whisper to me what the focus of my life should be at any given time.  Almost 7 years ago, he placed it in my heart to really focus on overcoming a weakness of mine. I purchased the book titled, "Organizing for Dummies."  I was not blessed with the natural ability to organize or complete any big projects in an orderly manner. After reading that book, I learned that I would be a much better me if I could aquire this set of skills. 

So I began my journey of increasing these skills to grow in this area. I was slowly improving. I remember how excited I was to get 3 boxes and label them "Keep, throw away, and donate" It was the first time that I had ever adopted that concept and I can still remember how liberating it felt. Since I had experienced a lot of loss in my past,  I tend to hold onto more things than I really needed.

So, I didn't quite get the hang of all I needed to know before we decided it was time to sell our home of 16 years in Garland and move to Forney to build our dream home. As some of you remember... right after we moved to Forney, we were hit by the F-3 tornado and had to live in a hotel for many months. Now in hindsight, that was my first experience of learning to live small. We were a family of 4 and a dog inside 4 walls for many months. I put some of my skills to the test and we not only survived, but we learned and grew.

When our home build was completed and we moved in....I was determined to have an organized home. The space was endless. The cabinets went on for days. The pantry and the master closet could be a small bedroom. With 5 bedrooms and storage areas everywhere, I thought that organizing would be easy with so much space. I was so very wrong. It didn't take long to realize that I couldn't handle that much space. Of course, every other aspect of living in our community was amazing. We truly cherished living in our home in the Devonshire community. It will always be a highlight. We are thankful for that chapter. However, i realized that I was going to need help to keep up with the demands of a home that large. I hired help to clean weekly, keep the yard, clean the windows and even pick up the dog poop. Sounds wonderful right? It actually was for a while. Although, all of the hired help allowed me to spend more time serving others and more time with my kids and more time  having lunch and dinner dates with my friends regularly...I was not feeling like I was following through on my duties of growing personally in certain areas.  I was actually becoming lazy and I remember one day in particular that I had the thought that I would just leave the dishes for the cleaning ladies since they were coming the next morning. It hit me that I had become so accustomed to someone doing all of these things for me. 

I asked myself, "What am I teaching my kids?" This is not me. But, it became so easy. I quickly decided that I don't want to be that kind of person. Life isn't meant to be easy! You are meant to dig deep and get messy. Then God placed this scripture in my heart and mind.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God. D&C 109:8

It was time to step up my game and do all I could to make this match my home in the area of "preparing every needful thing" and "a house of order." 

So the journey continued. Two years ago the word that I selected to be my focus was SIMPLIFY. Which went hand in hand with my Scentsy business as one of our core values is SIMPLICITY. I dove in head first and hired a dear friend to come and organize my home and help me eliminate the unnecessary. This changed my life. It wasn't without struggle but Heavenly Father was gentle with me and allowed me 1 year to figure it out and get the hang of it before calling us to Lubbock. 

After my house was all organized, I peeled another layer of the onion per say. I realized that I still owned too much. So, I began praying that I could understand more fully the principles of simplifying my life. The answer came to begin getting rid of much of what I owned. I purged and purged and purged some more. Then I purged again. Every purge, I was feeling lighter and lighter. With that bigger house came more stuff and with more stuff became more to care for and organize. 

Then back in March, Hayley and Jose moved to Lubbock. Despite what people said, I truly never thought that I would move to Lubbock also. Even with how close Hayley and I are... I really didn't think that would ever be a part of our plan. When all of a sudden about a month after they moved. I had a dream that we sold the house, sold 80% of what we owned and moved to an apartment. WHAT THE HECK???? SERIOUSLY???? NO WAY???? I even started looking at the only complex of apartments that had recently been built in Forney, still not knowing that Lubbock was in our future. 

After much prayer and contemplation... I was slowly shown that I had been being led up to this move to Lubbock for a while. I was being prepared in so many different ways. I quickly realized that we had been praying for a new school for Kolby and had even considered using my husband’s parent’s address and sending him back to Garland schools. We quickly realized that that wasn't the answer. We also, realized that Hayley and Jose were going to be having their first child and our first grandchild and with Jose in pre-med and Hayley having many dreams of her own to pursue. My being there would allow for her to pursue them. I had been praying and decided to finish my degree as well. And well Shay has been saying for 25 years that he always wanted to live in Lubbock and that we would someday. I always told him never. (Never say never)

The simplifying journey continued along with the intersection of everyone else in my family....  LUBBOCK WAS THE ANSWER. I purged some more and packed and prepared. Even as I loaded the truck...I got rid of even more. Every day I was shedding more and more. I only moved with what would fit in a two bedroom apartment. As I unpacked in my new place. Going from my 4000 square ft. home to an 1100 sq. ft. tiny apartment.... I wept! 

These were tears of JOY and freedom and a little from the drastic changes. After a fun bet with my husband... I had this place set up in 2 days. Organized completely and cleaned by me!!!!!!!!! Everything I brought fit, (with the exception of Christmas stuff that went to a small storage) clutter free and beautifully organized in my new space. Finally freed from the bondage of a large home, the upkeep and everything else that goes along with that. Even though our home hasn't sold yet, I have now learned that I never needed that much space. I am happier with less! Less is more! 

Kolby couldn't be happier! He loves it here! He will start his new school tomorrow and will be successful with a block schedule and a 7 am seminary start time. He is absolutely loving his coaches and new teammates that he has met. He loves his new YM leaders and has already made some friends. We are so happy for him! 

Hayley and I picked right up where we left off and are enjoying picking colors, and furniture to set up little Skyler's room. And of course, a tiny bit of clothes shopping. Ok maybe a little more than a tiny bit! hahaha

I wouldn't change my simplified life for anything. I am happier! I am actually organized! I have WAY MORE TIME! My mind is simplified! I am not overwhelmed with tasks to do! I don't have the guilt hanging over my head that I am paying someone to do everything anymore! I have gained back my self worth of handling my own stuff and self reliance! I am cooking almost every day!  I am reading again! I am listening to relaxing music! I have more time to focus on my business! I have more time to think and feel and write! I have more time for what matters most! 

The Lord led me and my family to ABUNDANCE! We sacrificed our home and gave up so much and in return gained so much more! I feel so blessed to be here and feel the warmth and kindness of this city. I already love my new church family. I have found the homeless here in Lubbock and can't wait to start serving however we can. I also found a new place to serve with the Special Olympics, and I can't wait! With all the money I will be saving from not paying someone to clean, I can do more random acts of kindness! Which is one of my most favorite past times! 

We thought we were moving here for a few reasons and were quickly shown that this was an all-encompassing journey for us all! I can't wait to see what shall come from this chapter! 

I have definitely learned that simplfying means to eliminate the unecessary so that the necessary can speak. 

More blogs to come on the downsizing and living small... I've learned so much and can't wait to share! 

Find Joy in the Journey of simplifying your life. I did it!  

Until I blog again, 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

An Amazing Story... "Have you Forgotten?"

As many of you know...Our house is on the market to sell...60 days to be exact! I have been on a journey of simplicity and order, directed by God for over a year now. It all started with a dream... {I sold my home and I got rid of 75% of what I owned. I then downsized and moved into an apartment.}

I had no idea at the time of the dream that it was actually going to come to fruition. As the days went on, everything began to open my eyes to a bigger picture. The organizing, the downsizing, the selling of our home and then the idea of moving.  It wasn't until Hayley and Jose let us know that they were expecting, that it began to finally hit me, why all of this was happening the way it was. After much prayer, we realized what our next season was.  Although, this is exciting and amazing to me...This is NOT the amazing story!

Last week I was pondering the last 60 days and fear crept into my mind. "What if we don't sell our house?", "What if I am here for months and haven't sold?", "What if the house hasn't sold and it's time for Kolby to start school?", "What if the builders continue to add houses to the market?", "I don't want to live without my kids?" and so on.

I literally wore myself out that day and couldn't put my mind to rest! I finally said, "enough is enough" and would change my mind every time those thoughts would come back. Over and over for a few days these thoughts would surface and I would have to literally choose to change my thinking.

I took it to The Lord in prayer! I had just barely finished with my prayer and I was flooded with some thoughts that came over my mind and heart.... Have you forgotten?  Then all of a sudden a memory came into my mind. Here is the story.....

It was about 5 years ago and I had a dream of living in a new place. (I guess that is how I hear fronm God on these kinds of things) Little did I know that shortly after that dream, Shay and I would both feel prompted to move and build a home in Forney. After skipping MANY stories in between, we found Devonshire. We secured our funding , picked our floor plan and signed a contract. And of course all the fun stuff that goes along with building. We were all set!

The beginning building of our home was delayed due to so much rain. In the meantime, we were also hit by a F-3 tornado ( http://heatherearljoyinthejourney.blogspot.com/2012/04/beautiful-disaster.html)  that not only destroyed the home we were renting and living in, But we also lost my car in that terrible tornado.

We tried our best to survive with one car. But after falling asleep on the way home from taking Shay to work with his crazy "middle of the night" hours...I stopped taking him to work! We were always told not to buy a car while in the midst of an already approved loan. It didn't take long to realize that one car wasn't going to work. So we reached out to our lender and explained the situation and we were given the go-ahead to buy the car. All was well again. I was so excited not to be stuck in the hotel, with no car for the summer. Although, we learned to make the best of it and have some life-changing experiences living there within those 4 walls to cherish. I was relieved to have a car again. We won't ever forget that time and the many lessons learned along with strength built.

Fast forward to the closing of our home. Thirteen days before we were set to close, I received a call from our lender that some rules had changed and because we bought the car we had to redo everything. So basically we lost the existing loan that we had. Which actually made the paperwork that our builder had nulll and void. Here we were finally about to come to the end of an exhausting year of tornado and hotel living and we lost our loan and had to redo everything! If you have ever closed on a home, you know the overwhelming feelings that I was experiencing in that moment! All I could do was cry!  I called to tell Shay and we came to the conclusion that maybe we weren't meant to have this home because of all that we had been through to make everything happen! We literally began looking at other homes.

I met with the builder and he told me I had a deadline to get another loan. It had almost been a year that had crept by with all of these delays and everything we had been through to get to this point. We So he gave me a few cards of lenders and I had 13 days to close a loan start to finish! I know you are probably thinking... Yeah right!!! That is what I thought, at first! Then I remembered a miracle in my life from the past and was reminded that with God, a righteous desire and prayer....ANYTHING was possible.

I called all the lenders and prayed about which one to use. The next day I received a phone call from my friend Ada to go to lunch. We did and while there she mentions how much she loves her lender and I asked her name. {Thinking that maybe I would use her person} Well, the name was one of the people that I had prayed about. I knew immediately that she was the one. I called her right then and there to set up an appointment. How grateful I am for these "hand of God" moments.

I give her all of our info and we begin our quest to close in 13 days. She informs me that she could do her best but that was basically an UNHEARD OF REQUEST, due to time lines of paperwork, appraisals and all that goes into closing a loan. We prayed, we fasted, we answered every call she gave, we met to give documents and signed here, signed there! Then about a week into this process...she calls me for something and makes the comment, "In all of my years of doing this, I have NEVER had a loan go so smoothly!" I remember how I felt at that moment...I was reminded that God is ALWAYS in control! So we continue to wait.

In the meantime, they did something wrong on my house and had to fix it...so the silver lining is that it bought us a little more time. God is good! {side note... This is why I handle the hard times better because I know that they are "stalling moments" while God works his miracles. And prepares us for something better.}

We get down to the wire and everything is still going along smoothly. Deadlines and appraisals were all kept in a strangely quick manner. Even my lender was surprised enough to make another comment that "we must be doing something right, cause everything was alignling so nicely" I felt that same wonderful peace. HOWEVER, very shortly after that comment... She called and told me that she was going to have to get her hands on a tax document from me. No problem, I thought! I had recently filed my taxes. So I assumed that it would be a simple phone call and email request.

So I set out to get that document. Quickly, I found at that this was not going to be easy! The IRS told me that when you file, you have to wait until it goes through their system before they can even begin to try and get the document that I was requesting. I was told there was no possible way to expedite this process. I remember feeling worried. I prayed and felt lifted that it would all work out.

So the next few days became living on the phone with the IRS or driving to their office and sitting all day to find out that it was STILL NOT IN THEIR SYSTEM! I spoke with a supervisor that said again.... there was no way to expedite this process. I just had to wait!

I didn't have much time to wait! The builder called to make sure we were on target, reminding me that if I passed this deadline that a new contract would have to be written on ouur home. The downside to that was that now that some time had passed... The price of the home had also gone up about 40k which would also make me have to start over with our lender. ALL I REMEMBER WAS OUR KNEES WERE SORE FROM ALL OF THE PRAYING WE DID!!!!

I got a call from my lender that everything was ready EXCEPT for the one document we needed from the IRS! I spent half a day waiting at the IRS office to see if I could get my hands on this document. I remember thinking... We felt impresssed to sell our home, WE DID! We felt impressed to move to Forney, WE DID! Not knowing we would be hit by a tornado a short few months after moving. We felt impressed to build in Devonshire, WE DID! Everything we did, we felt inspired to do so after prayer! So why did it all seem to be crashing now!

As the days drew closer, I cried alot and prayed alot! I remember thinking...Why would God bring us this close for things to not work out now? I remember pleading with The Lord and letting him know through prayer that if it wasn't meant to be that we would be OK! We knew a house wasn't what made our happiness! We felt impressed to discuss with our super excited kids of the possibilities of things not working out! We cried, but all of us came to the realization that we could be happy anywhere! So we went forward waiting for this ONE document from the IRS! We had 3 days....

I spent the next 2 days at the IRS office. Still NO PAPER! I called my lender and with a teary voice said, "I have done all I can do but the IRS still does not have my paper in their system"

Her reply I will never forget.... "The Tax paper? Oh I got that emailed to me yesterday"
Silence............... "What? How? What do you mean?" I said kinda loudly! "Are you serious?"

"YES", she replied! She said, "I thought you were the one who finally got someone to send it to me, so I didn't call you!"

I told her that I had been there the last two days and it still wasn't there as of today! She said, "Weird, but yes we have all we need now, so I already called your builder and told them we were on target for closing!"

I get off the phone and call the IRS.... I couldn't believe what I heard. "Mrs. Earl, we still do not have your paper and there is no way that anyone could have received it because it is not in our system yet"

I dropped to my knees as the tears just streamed down my face! I KNEW!!! I JUST KNEW!!! I knew that God's hands were all over this and that we were meant to be in this home!

I promised God that day, that I would share the miracles that I witnessed in my life from then on in a much bigger way! I also know when we pray and plead with God some times the answer is NO! Like when both of my children passed away... I pleaded with God for them to live! But the answer was NO! So I have a strong testimony of GODS WILL in our lives!

So as I just sit and wait for my house to sell.... I won't fear the "What if's" I will remember my past blessings and miracles and I will wait. I will wait for God to say...it's time! I will trust God's timing in our lives once again while we wait to see who He sends to buy the home we have loved so much!

And the punch line to the whole story.... Our lender had us an entire point lower and 5000k less brought to closing than the lender that dropped us! God is GOOD, real GOOD! So if you find yourself in this space of waiting on The Lord for something.... Just breathe, just trust, just keep filling your days with good while you wait on The Lord to work out His mighty miracles for you!

And when you doubt or forget.... Pray to be reminded of ALL of your past blessings and BELIEVE and find JOY in God's will for your life!

Until I blog again,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My stupid, idiot brother!

Last night we had the chance to celebrate my brother, Chris! He is 3 years older than me. We had a wonderful time hanging together at a little hole in the wall restaurant in Dallas called Goodfriend beer garden and burger house. My brother's "good friend" (pun intended) Justin Cash was performing. He has a very successful band! It was AWESOME! (Look him up... Justin Cash Band)

So you are probably wondering why I would go celebrate with my brother if he is a "stupid idiot"

Last night after dinner we went to Braums. He was teasing me about my "Joy in the Journey" blog. I was on the phone with Shay and I could hear him talking. I then hear him say...her next blog is going to be titled, "My stupid, idiot brother” So here you go, Chris! 

You see, I am sure there were actual days that I felt that way about him... I can remember a few times growing up that I felt that way...Maybe a few just the other day? hahaha JK

So since he titled his own blog...I figured I would take this moment to dedicate this blog to him.

My brother Chris is a multi-talented guy with an ambition for life like no other that I know! He is a husband to his beautiful wife Sherry, he is father to their 8 wonderful kids! Hunter, Chloe, Emery, Noah, Landri, Delaney, um...who else...JK Danny (named after our father), and cutie pie Ainsley! That's 8 right? I didn't miss anyone? Nope...That's all of them! 

Chris is a musician and singer/songwriter. He plays the guitar and piano and melts your heart when he sings. I'm still waiting for a song to be written about me! JK! At least he can't ever say I haven't written a blog about him! One of his songs written for my son Shelby still pulls at my heart strings. He is a talented guy! 

He is intelligent, an innovator and an entrepreneur at his core. He and my sis-in-law own a restaurant called Scrumbscious Burger and Pie Company. It's not easy by any stretch to run a restaurant and it has stood the test of time and is a well-known favorite spot. It has required dedication like most couldn't even fathom. He has taken the opportunity to teach his children the power of hard work and molded them into kids that respect work and that is very uncommon in our society these days. 

Oh and you gotta go check out his restaurant in Mesquite. It has fresh burgers, hand-cut fries and pie shakes. Pie shakes are Sherry (sis-in-law) handmade pies slice mixed into ice cream blended into an amazing shake! Scrumbscious Burgers and Pieshakes 1151 E. Davis St, Mesquite, TX 75149    You can always catch him at his booth at the State Fair of Texas each year too! 

My brother and I are very different. But through the years have grown to respect each other’s perspective and views. I am the optimist and he isn't! Hahaha He is a "realist" and is a master at taking whatever comes his way. 

Since he's a very busy guy...many don't get the chance to know what a wonderful guy he really is. If you do, you are lucky! If you don't...you are missing out! 

He has a big heart and can make you laugh pretty much at any moment! Hanging at the restaurant after hours will always be a highlight in life! Whether we are singing or dancing, we definitley always laughing... it's always a fun time to be had! 

I respect him and I love him! Happy Birthday to my stupid, idiot brother! 

Love you, Chris!!!!!

Until I blog again, 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Are you freaking kidding me???

Have you ever found yourself saying, "Are you freaking kidding me?" Well this day just happened for me! But, I also found myself laughing about it! And in that moment of laughter, when I could have been furious... It got me thinking of a message I had received the day before this frustrating day and many other occasions as well. This was the message....

All of a sudden, it caused me to think, "How DO, I do that?" Even though I know what works for me... How could I better explain what I do to remain happy under the pressures of life or overcome upsets so easily! I did respond to the message and shared my perspective on how to find JOY in daily life with all of the non- joy things that come our way! But the main thing I realized that I do is.... make choices all day long! 

Let me explain how this worked for me...from one of the worst days that I have recently experienced! 

Every year, all throughout the year there are things that I have to do for Shay's trucking company. I have to renew things or pay to keep him going legally. The worst dreaded day (that I just found out they have changed and I can do online now) is to go all the way to Carrollton and pay for his Apportioned plates (tags). It is one of those things depending on who you get that day, which way your paperwork needs to look or which documents are needed, that last time I didn’t need. Anyway, it's always a stress! One year I can use my check, one year I can't...or one year I can take care of it and one year Shay needed to write something saying I can make changes on the account (even though I am part owner)...or one year I was told my insurance wasn't the proper document (when I knew it was)...or one year they had two trucks listed (his old one and new one) and I wasn't authorized to remove one!!! Let me tell you, IT LEAVES ME SAYING IN MY HEAD..."ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?"

So, I decided that this year I would go above and beyond to make sure I have everything required by current guidelines. (cause there are several things you have to prove and declare and it has to be "just so."  However, depending on the agent you get that day is who determines "just so")

So, I called ahead and spoke with an agent. I researched online to make sure nothing had changed and no added documents were required. I called again and spoke with a second agent to make sure I heard the same as before from the first agent. I called my insurance company and prepared them that I might be calling if they were requiring specifics for my documents or for them to be in a different format. (Yes, that picky) I collected my documents and checked them 3 times and decided to leave a little after traffic and before it gets busy at this office. I made the hour drive over there and pulled my number and sat and waited. While I waited, I read on my kindle as to help me ignore the person sneezing and coughing across from me NOT covering their mouth. (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME) and the babies crawling on the floor with no protection and putting things in their mouths straight from the floor with no supervision. (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME) And the lady that asked me to move seats so that her son could sit by her. (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME)  Time doesn't seem to move. 

Finally after an hour (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME)... My number is called! Whew! Finally! I walk up to window and I am greeted with the grimmest face, no smile, no greeting except for ..."What do you need today?" (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME) And of course, I'm smiling and share that I am there to renew my husband’s apportioned tags. She then says... "Paperwork?" (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME)  I hand her my paperwork and with a deep inside sigh am hoping that she accepts everything and all is well! She slowly looks through each sheet and makes extra loud breathing noises and I'm thinking is this good or bad! What is she about to tell me...? After what felt like an eternity...She tells me that my dates are wrong! Yep....you guessed it... Inside my head, I say, "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?" So, highly expecting that something could go wrong...I'm prepared for something to be wrong! But that was the only thing that I didn't have backup for! I told her how could that be... I got my dates of all miles from the document that they sent me in the mail. She printed another document and it definitely had different dates. She said, "I don't know why they sent those dates" I asked how that could be? She said, "I don’t know but your dates are wrong?" I told her that I would have to go all the way home and prepare a new mileage record with new dates and come back! She says, "Step aside, mam so I can call the next person to my window that is prepared." (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME) 

CHOICES! I could have "gone off" on many people that day! I could have said, "Screw it!" I could have asked to speak to a supervisor and shared how rude that lady was! I could have made a face at the lady that asked me to move for her son to sit! I could have screamed I hate life right now! I could have rolled my eyes at the man that was sneezing and coughing! I could have made a comment to the mom that was letting her baby crawl all over the dirty floor! I could have left that place mad as heck knowing that refiguring Shay's miles per state, per dates was going to take another hour or more! Not to mention...now I am leaving in rush hour lunch hour traffic to go back home...only to come back again! But I didn't! 

Of course, since I have such a habit of not giving in to anger, or letting other people control my JOY or my day or my emotions. I made the choice to get in my car and open my sunroof, turn on my music (full blast) and take the journey back home and laugh at it all! 

On my way, of course there is an accident on 635. But, since I was moving so slow past the accident I decide to roll down my other windows and just let the breeze come in. Then I passed the accident and began to speed up.... Not even thinking that I have the newly printed out paper with new dates right on top of my folder. IT FLEW OUT THE WINDOW! (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME) 

I was so mad for a minute and thought can this day get any worse? I immediately exit and go back and walked directly up to the window (of a different agent) and asked for another print out! 

I go back to my car and actually SAY A PRAYER! I am calmed! I open the sunroof, turn back on my music and drive in silence for a few until I feel like singing again! It took me 2 hours to get home! 

I ran in grabbed all of Shay's paperwork and carefully went through all of his daily sheets to add up all the miles per state, per the new dates. Shay even asks me how I am doing knowing that I had to go all the way back! I was like... I'm good! Stuff like this happens all the time and I decided not to let it get me down! It is what it is and I'm not going to let anything spoil my JOY! So I realized, that even though I had every reason to be ticked off...It was just a series of unfortunate events that happened altogether and I was just going to make the best of it! All the way back for an hour and half... I thought about why is it so easy for me to not to go to that "ticked off" place and this is what came to my mind...

{Losing 2 children was the most horrific thing that has ever happened to me.} It almost got the best of me! Not many remember me back in those days. There were moments when the pain was almost unbearable! The only thing that saved me was my knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father that would NEVER GIVE ME MORE THAN I AM CAPABLE OF OVERCOMING! I used to hate hearing that! But, through my trials, I learned that life is series of events that either help us become more or they don't! They can make you better and stronger or they can define you and make you bitter!  I constantly had to DIG DEEP and OVERCOME the losses that I was called to experience! I woke up EVERDAY and had to choose happy or miserable! Cause let me tell ya, losing your children can cause misery, IF YOU LET IT! I chose to not let it bring me down, but it wasn't without a daily fight and a choice every single day! I had no idea that I was learning how to make that choice so often and so regularly that it became a way of life for me through the years! 

I learned that I had a choice to choose joy and an attitude of gratitude! Every day, I am grateful for many, many things! My life, my children on earth and in heaven, the lessons that I have learned, the husband that has stood by my side through all of those crazy days, my extended family, my business, the sun shining, the birds chirping, the wind blowing, my gospel knowledge, and my long list goes on and on! Some tease me for my "rose colored glasses" view on life! But, it is NOT that... 
I have made choices for a long time to focus on the good as to not get drowned in the loss that I had to learn how to overcome! After many years of having to choosing HAPPY OR MISERABLE.... I got good at choosing happy! So it makes it so easy to deal with..."ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME" days! Just because I am happy a lot, doesn't mean that my life is easy or that I don't have difficult days! I have days like this all the time! 

In our family we have the START OVER RULE.... Give yourself permission to start over! If we feel like a converstion or a day needs a restart.... We say, "Can I start over?" It works! Try it! 

So, I finally reach my destination AGAIN! I go in and take a number! It is even more crowded than before and I am totally expecting to wait over an hour to be called! I endure the same scenario of the people that I am sitting by! When all of a sudden I hear my name called over the speaker to come to window 15. I stand up and walk over to find that I was called to the same lady.... I looked at her and she says, "I saw that smiling face walk in! Can't miss it...we don't get a lot of those around here!"

I am seriously saying inside..."ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME" But for a whole different reason! Am I seriously talking to the same lady and did she just say that! I of course, lit up! She said, "Now give me your number so I can take you off the que, I skipped all these people to call you to my window" I smiled and said, Thank you so much! You totally made my day! She then says, "No you made mine" 

My thoughts at that moment were.... {WHAT?????, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?} 
She told me that after I left she thought about how I reacted when she told me that I had the wrong dates and that I happily said that I had to drive back home and come back. She said in all of her years working there she has never had such a kind person. She said, I knew you had God in your life! 

That was the moment when I was so touched and I really wanted to cry! When I realized that my favorite quote by Marianne Williamson made so much sense to me.... "We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear {and I will add frustration, disappointment, anger,} our presence AUTOMATICALLY LIBERATES OTHERS! 

I witnessed this! I made a choice and it mattered and it changed a heart! I was also blessed to skip all of the other people in there! I had everything she needed and I paid and she gave me my receipt and then the greatest of all... this once mean, angry, bitter, short worded lady....SMILED at me! 

Find JOY in those crazy days when all that is going through your mind is ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME... and MAKE THE CHOICE to let love, kindness, and light exude from you instead! Don't beat yourself up as you discover that you can choose to have a better day no mater what crosses your path! Practice make perfect, well somewhat perfect but it will totally help you find JOY and HAPPINESS in your days! 

Until I blog again,